Mobile home destroyed by truck, driver killed

JACKSON TWP., N.J. - September 5, 2012

Witnesses say it was about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning on Route 571 when a speeding dump truck loaded with gravel veered off the road and through a parking lot where it barely missed a group of children waiting for the school bus and plowed into two trailer homes.

"If they didn't get out of the way, they would have been dead," said Chuck Salvatore.

Chuck Salvatore was in the Krauszer's parking lot near the Shady Oak Mobile Home community and Anthony Way when he screamed to warn the mothers waiting to put their kids on the bus for the first day of school.

"I yelled, 'Get out of the way, he can't stop, he's coming through,' and he came right through here about 60 mph," said Salvatore.

"I pulled the kids toward 571, and he just severed and kept going, but there was no braking, no nothing," said Julie Vaughn. "He just blasted right through the house."

"I almost had a heart attack," said Lisa Tomas. "I thought we were all going to die and my kids were panicking. It was just scary."

The dump truck passed the children, blasted right through an empty gray mobile home, and slammed into a tree and the back of another trailer, where Terry Braun was inside changing her 6-month-old daughter.

"Something told me to move, so I ran into the room and watched the whole wall in my bathroom just cave right in," said Braun.

"My bed was on the other side of the truck, so if he was over 5 feet more, he would have got me instead," Steve Robertson said.

The 58-year-old driver of the truck was killed. He has not been identified pending notification of family.

"At this time, we don't know what caused the truck to leave the road, whether it was a mechanical failure or if there was a medical emergency," said Jackson Police Chief Matthew Kunz.

Utility crews had to replace two poles damaged in the accident.

Route 571 was closed most of the day.

It took two heavy-duty tow trucks to pull the dump truck away from the mangled trailer.

Several Shady Oak residents like Terry and Steve are counting their blessings.

"We're very lucky," Terry said. "My guardian angel or God or somebody was definitely watching us."

The Red Cross is assisting the residents to find temporary housing.

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